There are few people who would deny that they want peace in our violent world. Catholics pray for it at every Mass: Dona nobis pacem. Some have bumper stickers with Pope Paul VI’s much quoted statement for his 1972 Message for that year’s Day of World Peace: “If you want peace, work for justice.”
St John Paul II expanded on his predecessor’s statement when he gave his own message for the 26th Day of World Peace in 1993: “If you want peace, reach out to the poor! May rich and poor recognize that they are brothers and sisters; may they share what they have with one another as children of the one God who loves everyone, who wills the good of everyone, and who offers to everyone the gift of peace!”
His words are true, and we should heed them. Unfortunately for thousands in the Middle East, Africa, Pakistan, India, and other parts of the world, many of them Christians, the god who is worshiped, followed, and emulated by some is not the one, true “God who loves everyone, who wills the good of everyone, and who offers to everyone the gift of peace.” Their god is a false god of violence and vengeance.
The killers in Al Quaeda, ISIS, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, and the other Islamist terrorist gangs and governments have no intention of sharing “the gift of peace.” Anyone who does not subscribe to their twisted belief carries satanic DNA.
But while they may chant “Death to the great Satan,” it is they who are the partisans of Satan. Their melody of hate is punctuated with nothing less than pure evil: the torture and mass murder of men, women, and children, the rape of women and even young girls, and the brutal enslavement of boys and girls for their personal pleasures and uses. But sadly the Islamist terrorists do not have a monopoly on the murder of the innocent.
To be clear, as evil as the killings and brutalities perpetrated by the Islamist thugs it does not even compare with the magnitude of 55 million unborn human beings wantonly killed by abortion in this country since 1973. And while the number of annual abortions may be down from prior years, the blood of the innocent continues to be shed in the abortion centers of America.
If we are not as shocked by the wanton killing of 55+ million unborn human beings in our own country as we are (rightfully) shocked at the evil of the so called Islamic State in Iraq or Boko Haram in Nigeria or Al Quaeda in Irag, it is only because for over 40 years the brutality and inhumanity of abortion in the U.S. has been hidden in the lies and the political newspeak of the selfish and the politically ambitious.
As much as the abortionists might deny it, there is a real if terrifying common ground between the abortionists and their supporters and the Islamist terrorists and their disciples. For both, a fellow human being who does not look like them or believe like them or whose life is not wanted by them or has no utilitarian value to them is not entitled to human dignity or worthy of life unless they unilaterally grant it. The abortionists and the Islamist terrorists have both embraced evil over truth, and violence over peace.
Pope Benedict XVI put it well in his own message for the World Day of Peace in 2013: “In effect, peace presupposes a humanism open to transcendence. It is the fruit of the reciprocal gift, of a mutual enrichment, thanks to the gift, which has its source in God and enables us to live with others and for others. The ethics of peace is an ethics of fellowship and sharing.”
If you have not noticed, neither the terrorists nor the abortionists think much of “mutual enrichment” or “fellowship and sharing” with any of their fellow human beings whom they do not want or accept as their equals.
Pope Benedict went on in the same message to succinctly and simultaneously identify the required ingredient for true peace and to expose the common error shared by the abortionists and the Islamist terrorists:
“The precondition for peace is the dismantling of the dictatorship of relativism and of the supposition of a completely autonomous morality which precludes acknowledgment of the ineluctable natural moral law inscribed by God upon the conscience of every man and woman. Peace is the building up of coexistence in rational and moral terms, based on a foundation whose measure is not created by man, but rather by God.”
He then specifically addressed abortion in his message. But what he says about the blood trade of abortion is equally applicable to the Islamist terrorists:
“Those who insufficiently value human life and, in consequence, support among other things the liberalization of abortion, perhaps do not realize that in this way they are proposing the pursuit of a false peace. The flight from responsibility, which degrades human persons, and even more so the killing of a defenseless and innocent being, will never be able to produce happiness or peace. Indeed how could one claim to bring about peace, the integral development of peoples or even the protection of the environment without defending the life of those who are weakest, beginning with the unborn.”
The terrorists have manufactured a god who condones evil and the willful killing of the innocent. The abortionists have manufactured a god, whom they call radical autonomy, who condones evil and the willful killing of the innocent. The god they both follow is the same god of violence, a god who is the antithesis of peace. And they have a mutual enemy. For both it is Christianity, which they find threatening. On closer examination their Christian enemy in particular is the Catholic Church, which they both seek to destroy.